A friend and I have been swapping lists just lately of our favourite pieces of classical music. For our own education and maybe even a blog post on here sometime. The doing of these somehow made me think of ‘Wichita Lineman’. Not because it’s classical music, of course, though maybe it is now?
I’ve been listening to this glorious song since it first emerged from my Binatone transistor radio fifty years ago. I’ll almost certainly have heard it on the new BBC Radio One that had just been invented then to replace my preferred Radio Caroline pirate station. And once I’d heard it the song not only stuck with me, it stuck in me.
The loneliness, the yearning, the situation, the working man out there on his own, the SOS in the strings and every single time these last fifty years when he sings:
‘And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time’
I stop whatever it is I’m doing. And feel the shiver down my backbone that I just felt now. Because I’m listening to the song while I write this.
That’s all. I could go on about it but there’s no need. I’ll show you my list of Beethoven and Brahms and Debussy one day. And maybe like I did you’ll say:
‘What about Glen Campbell, what about Jimmy Webb, what about their beautiful perfect song?’
As perfect as perfect gets.
If you want more you can hear the singer and the writer talking about their song here on this BBC Radio 4 ‘Soul Music’ documentary. Or you can just go back and listen to the song. Over and over and over again. Through the wires.